Magic Johnson Unbothered By HBO Canceling ‘Winning Time’ 

September 26, 2023

The Winning Time series chronicling the personal and professional lives of the 1980s Lakers ended with a surprise series finale.

After two seasons, the sports tv drama Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, has been canceled at HBO. The series premiered on March 6 2022 and resulted in a slam dunk with an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The sophomore season kept the same pace receiving generally favorable reviews but Magic Johnson wasn’t one of them.

The five-time champ whose face was the center of the series, told the Hollywood Reporter, that he “never watched” the show because “nobody in this world can tell the Lakers story.”

“None of us watched it because it was fictional.”

He added, “Well, I never watched it because nobody in this world can tell the Lakers story [like it needed to be told]. The Showtime story? Nobody! Dr. Buss was way ahead of his time as an owner. Our team? Unbelievable! The Laker girls with Paula Abdul? Unbelievable! Nobody can tell that story.”

“So, none of us watched it because it was fictional. You just can’t tell that story. But, hey, that’s on them,” Johnson explained.

Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles LakersWinning Time chronicled the 1980s Showtime era of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. The cast included John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Quincy Isaiah as Johnson, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, Sally Field as Jeanie Buss, Dr. Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jason Segel as Paul Westhead, DeVaughn Nixon as Norm Nixon, Delante Desouza as Michael Cooper, and Sean Patrick Small as Larry Bird, among others.

When asked if he would work on his on biographical film, he told THR that he’s open to it. “If I do, I got two of the biggest friends in the business, [Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson],” he said while Jackson stood over his shoulder at the event. “So, if I ever do it, it would be with one of my friends because they already know me. We’ll see.”